Well, I was wondering what I was going to write about this morning, when my my fishing expedition through Google News turned up a keeper. The background of the story linked is that a family in North Wales (England) lost a son to an airgun related accident. That family is now (of course) pushing for tighter restrictions on airguns.
Seeing as this takes place in England, I’m not terribly surprised that the family seems to think that just taking airguns away from kids is the solution. God, if these things are so dangerous, how did I ever manage to survive my childhood? You could probably measure the amount of time I spent shooting my Crossman pump up air rifle in days, and count the number of pop cans I killed in the thousands. I guess I should probably be thanking my lucky stars that this dangerous airgun didn’t up and kill me dead on the spot.
In all seriousness, while what happened to this family is a tragedy, as no one should lose their son to an accident; in my view it’s even more tragic because it is entirely preventable. Upon reading the article, you’ll find that the child killed was shot in the head with said airgun. The only valid point that the article makes is that “airguns are not toys”. They are in fact dangerous and should only be used properly.
This leads me to why I believe this accident is all the more tragic. Had the children “playing” with the airgun received even basic instruction on safe firearms handling, this probably wouldn’t have happened. We all know the rules of firearms safety, one of which (Don’t point a firearm at anything you’re not willing to destroy) would have eliminated the possibility of this tragedy.
Instead of common sense in England, we have a near total cultural hoplophobia. The parents could be crying out for firearms safety classes, education for children to teach them airguns are dangerous and are not toys. Of course that would involve accepting responsibility for what happened as opposed to blaming the inanimate object. Don’t lock up the airguns; teach responsibility and safety.
Plinking cans (and the occasional jackrabbit) with my airgun was a huge part of my life growing up. It’s where I learned to shoot, and where I learned safe gun handling skills. Perhaps what England needs is more airguns, and maybe a National Youth Shooter Education Program. Hell, since they love spending government money on things, why not?